1980

Mystic Keyhole

1980.  That was the year of change. That is when you left.  Too self absorbed to fathom the chaotic impact you had on me.  Too taken aback by lust to understand that you had stolen my heart and damaged it beyond repair.  At the time, I was blind to the repercussions your actions would have on my life.  I was naive to think that you would ever be able to put me first, love me as a father should.  As a little girl, control was not something I possessed and my childish thoughts and dreams were in fact, unattainable fantasies.  As I recall my early childhood, I am reminded of what once was.  But I know now, it was all an illusion.  A child learns to repress the negative at an early age, to foster resiliency; emotional survival.  But alas, my attempts at regression have failed. My reality has caught up with me, my childhood illusions have become unravelled.  As I look through the keyhole to my soul, I know that you changed me, your actions caused irreparable damage to my heart and to my mind. Damage that has poisoned my adult life.  Here I sit, reminiscent of all the decisions you made; all of your poor choices.  The ripple effect is unparalleled, you hurt so many people, impacted the destiny of so many lives.  All consciously. You had choices to make and you consistently chose wrong.  You looked into my eyes and lied; filled me with hope and dreams and quashed them like no other. How do I come to peace with that?  As a grown woman, I am angry and furiously disappointed. I must however, realize those were not my choices and I had no control over you.  I must let go of my resentment so that I can thrive and live a happier life.  I am taking control now and I refuse to be dictated by my childhood fears and disenchanted dreams. For while you were once everything, now you are nothing.

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

 

Spinning

To turn as squirrel in wheel

My mind is full of panic. Spinning on the wheel of chaos. The anxiety is suffocating, I can’t breathe. Triggered by the physical sensations occurring throughout my body. My stomach hurts. My thoughts are racing. My heart is beating hard and fast. I’m shaky. Wait, am I starting to sweat? Why is it so hot in here? There must be something very wrong for me to feel shaky, hot and sweaty. It couldn’t be that I just changed over the laundry and walked up a flight of stairs. No, there’s no room for logic here. Only irrational thoughts are allowed to take up residence in my mind. The stomach ache. Oh, it won’t go away. I hate IBS. I’m going to die in the washroom like Elvis Presley. Seriously. These are the thoughts I have. These are the completely irrational, illogical, false thoughts I have all the time. Health anxiety. You bitch. There is no escape. Sigh. Pull yourself together. It is just a stomach ache. Not a big deal. Sit down. Give it a minute. But I’m shaky. Yah, you haven’t eaten breakfast yet. It’s so bloody hot and I’m sweating.It is just from doing laundry and walking up the stairs. My heart. Oh my god, my heart is beating fast. Yes, you just walked up the stairs. You don’t exercise, you are out of shape. Anyone’s heart would beat a little faster walking up the stairs. It is normal. It happens to everyone.

Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4…Exhale 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Oh logic, how I have missed thee. Where the hell were you? Don’t ever leave me again! I’m calming down.  I’m not as hot. My heart is returning to its happy place. Writing it down helps.  It almost forces me to look at the logical side instead of just letting my mind spin on the wheel of chaotic thought! The spinning is hard to stop. How much time has passed? Maybe fifteen minutes, maybe longer. I’m not sure. I lost track of time. The minutes blurred together.

Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4…Exhale 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

The spinning has stopped. Time to move on with my day. Try to forget this happened. Logic, you better stay strong, I have a lot to accomplish today.

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

2016 Reading List

libro antico aperto

Take me to your world.  Let me whisper among the fairies, sleep upon the moss and fall in love with a prince.  Let me fight aboard a pirate ship, soar above the clouds and rest in the arms of a gallant knight. Take me to your world.  Let me escape mine, but for a moment.
The Flip of the Switch, 2016.

In my effort to hold myself accountable, I have added a page to my website to document the books I have read in 2016.  I would very much like to read at least one book a week. I am trying to minimize my excessive binge watching of Netflix and stimulate my mind through books instead.  Quite a novel idea.

Here is the link to my 2016 Reading List.  I would love to hear your recommendations.  I am always looking for a good book to get lost in.

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

 

 

An Afterthought

Wedding Rings

His perception of my needs is grossly erroneous.  Representative of his continued refusal to listen and absorb my words; accept my longing for connection, for emotional depth. We have talked this to the brinks of insanity. I need you.  Your love, your arms wrapped around me, your refuge.  Your confidence, your strength. I need you to look into my eyes and see the depths of my soul.  Provide compassion, without judgement. Love, without obligation. Friendship, without insult. But sadly, I digress.  For this is not our reality.  Our relationship has been reduced to emotional instability, heart wrenching exchanges and magnificent disappointments.  I am ashamed of what our marriage, our friendship, has become.  You and I, we speak different languages.  I am telling you what I need, what I want, but you are not listening. You are absorbed, so deeply, in your own desires that you cannot accurately perceive mine.  Driven by power, money and success, it is illogical to you that I want loving kindness.  Your life dictated by time, clients and checklists, it is irrational to you that I want passion. One must share your worldview to carry legitimacy.  Thus, I am not a priority and our marriage is but an afterthought.

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

Wild & Untethered

fog in the morning

When I was a child, there were no seat belts, car seats or power windows.
When I was a child, our family spent Sundays driving along dirt roads listening to the eight track, pulling over occassionally to pick up fallen acorns.
When I was a child, I drank from a beer bottle and stayed up late playing cards with the neighbours.
When I was a child, we jumped from rooftops, ran free through the neighbourhood and soared off swings.
When I was a child, twilight was my curfew and the village raised me.
When I was a child, I ran outside in my socks and swam in ditches during a good rainstorm.
When I was a child, I spent weekends at the drive in, swung from a tire and ate mud pies.
When I was a child, toxicity was everywhere;  we breathed deep, licked the walls and survived to talk about it.
When I was a child, raw hot dogs and cookie dough were staples in my diet.
When I was a child, I got my vitamin C from Tang and everything else from a Flinstone vitamin.
When I was a child, I was free from societal confines and ludicrous expectations.

I was a free spirit, wild and untethered.

It is unfortunate that many of today’s children will never experience such a liberating childhood. They are too busy being strapped down securely in their car seats, frying their brains on electronics and eating organic food out of BPA free Tupperware. One day they will long for excitement and danger. I hope they wear a helmet.

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

To the Victor Go the Spoils

Satran

Today I broke free from your clutches; from your relentless desire to consume my sanity.

I have been a prisoner in my home and in my mind for far too long.

Today I walked out the door,
and I did not look back.
I drove my car.
Fast.
Dangerously fast.
It was exhilarating.

The windows were down and the bass of the music was soothing to my soul.

I have taken back control.

Oh, you tried to trick me a few times, but I persevered.
There was nothing you could do to stop me today.

It is a sign that your strength is weakening.  Your grip is faltering, your power wavering. You won’t have a hold much longer.  I can feel the victory rushing through my veins.  A taste of the other side.  A taste of what is to come.

For I reign over my mind and body.  Not you, Anxiety.  You are not welcome to do as you wish, you are not welcome to force yourself upon me.  Your intimidation will not prevail. I refuse to give in to your mind games; to your feeble attempts to manipulate me.

Today, I overcame your power.

To the victor go the spoils.

 

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

 

Just Breathe II

Yoga woman meditating at sunset

 

I just finished a private yoga session in my home.  I have chosen to have someone come to my home so that (a) I can’t make excuses and not attend and (b) I honestly don’t think I could handle the stress and anxiety of being in a room with a lot of people.  Turns out I made the right decision; more on that in a moment.

My yoga instructor is a young woman who has the most lovely voice; serenity beyond compare.  Calmness was radiating from her as she walked through my front door.

We had talked over the telephone about my current struggles and whether yoga could play a role in helping to still my mind and calm my soul.  She had actually been drawn to yoga after a time in her life that was riddled with anxiety and panic attacks.  Thus, she could appreciate what I had been experiencing.  It was yoga that ultimately provided her with the tools to stop the anxiety in its tracks and she hasn’t had a panic attack since.

We started off with slow, deep breathing.  Yes, I know.  Complete contradiction to my earlier post, but hear me out.  There is a difference between telling someone to breathe during a panic attack and teaching someone to breathe to help deter a panic attack;  to help them focus and use their inner strength to find calmness.

We moved to some of the easier poses and about midway through the session came to warrior pose.  Now, this is a relatively easy pose.  You are in a bit of a lunge with your arms extended.  Nothing too complicated.  It was at this time however, that I started to notice sensations in my body that initiated my fight or flight switch.  My heart was beating faster, I was sweating and my legs were shaking. Logically, I knew it was natural for my heart to beat faster because I was exercising.  I knew I should have been sweating because I was moving my body.  As for my legs, well I haven’t used them in three months so my muscles were likely in shock.  Logic can be so bloody logical!

It didn’t matter how hard I tried to convince myself of this logic.  The switch had been flipped and there was no turning back!  I was sprinting down a path of sheer panic!

I told my instructor that I had to stop.  She quite firmly told me to go to child’s pose. Child’s pose is where you are curled up into a ball and your forehead is on the ground. She started speaking with her angelic voice and counting out breathing.

Inhale, 1, 2, 3, 4…exhale 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Inhale, 1, 2, 3, 4…exhale 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

She continued for about five minutes.  Just breathing.  Focusing solely on the breath.

The relief was immediate.

As soon as my forehead was resting on the ground and I started breathing, I was bathed in serenity.  My heart slowed down.  I was no longer hot.  The shaking had subsided.

It was instantaneous.

I was in shock.  How could this pose and this breathing quite literally stop me from sprinting down the path of panic?  Me, the non-believer.  The person who quite vehemently declared that no one should ever tell me to just breathe!

Afterwards, she explained that it is the breath that is the tool that will ultimately give me the power to stop the anxiety.  She also said it is crucial that my forehead be on the ground because it will trigger my vagus nerve which in turn, will help to calm me.  She instructed me to go to child’s pose whenever I feel the first twinge of anxiety and/or panic.  She told me to leave my yoga mat in the middle of my living room and go there when I need to.

Breathe.

Count my breaths.

Our session lasted an hour and a half.  I am sitting here recalling all that she said, so angelically.  Any chance I get to breathe, I am to practice.  If I am sitting in the car, watching television or in the line at the grocery store, it is an opportunity to breathe. To focus on my well being.  Find my inner strength and peace through breathing.

I know it sounds mystical, intangible, unbelievable.  A few hours ago, I would have agreed.  But having been the fortunate recipient of the immediate relief that yoga offered me in the midst of a downward spiral, I am a believer.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Repeat.

Namaste.

 

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.